Originally Published on March 19, 2022

Source: Mint Press News

(NEW YORK) MintPress — It has been more than a decade since President George W. Bush signed the USA Patriot Act (Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act),  but the controversy surrounding it is far from over.

Indeed, on Thursday, two Senators, both Democrats, asked the Obama administration to disclose details about how it interprets a key provision of the act.

Passed a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Patriot Act greatly expanded the scope of the government’s intelligence gathering ability in the U.S. while dramatically reducing daily freedoms of the American public. It also enlarged the Treasury Secretary’s  authority to regulate financial transactions and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and other authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts.

In addition, the act widened the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, which increased the number of activities which can be monitored.

Last May, President Obama signed a four-year extension of three highly contentious provisions of the act, one of which, section 215, Access to Records, is the subject of the request sent by Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado to Attorney General Eric Holder. They claim most Americans would be “stunned to learn the details” of what the government thinks it can do.4


The Access to Records section, which is known as the “libraries provision,” even though it never mentions the word, allows investigators to obtain “any tangible thing (including books, records, papers, documents and other items)” as long as they are sought “in connection with” a terror investigation.

Critics maintain the law could be carried out by authorities to demand the reading records and history of members of the public. While the Justice Department (DOJ) has released evidence showing it has never been used against libraries or bookstores, civil rights advocates argue that  there’s nothing stopping them from abusing it in the future.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) claims, for example, “The FBI could spy on a person because they don’t like the books he or she reads, or because they don’t like the websites he or she visits. They could spy on a person because he or she wrote a letter to the editor that criticized government policy.”

It contends that Section 215 violates the FirstFourth and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution.


The ACLU, in fact, along with The New York Times, has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the DOJ requesting records about the government’s use of section 215 on the grounds that some members of the Senate Intelligence Committee had suggested the provision was being abused.

The Justice Department is seeking to have the suits dismissed, insisting that disclosing any information about its interpretation of the Patriot Act could tell America’s enemies how the government collects certain intelligence.

In their letter, Wyden and Udall wrote “It is a matter of public record that section 215, which is a public statute, has been the subject of secret legal interpretations.” They continue, “As we see it, there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows.”

“That is a problem, because it is impossible to have an informed public debate about what the law should say when the public doesn’t know what its government thinks the law says.”


This isn’t the first time the ACLU has tried to get information about the government’s use of section 215. In 2002, it filed a FOIA suit that resulted in the release of a few hundred documents. But now, it says, the FBI is using the provision more aggressively, and statements by the Obama administration raise the possibility that authorities are using it to support entire surveillance programs.

Wyden and Udall call the DOJ’s refusal to release the secret legal interpretations of the Patriot Act “contrary to core principles of American democracy.”

In their letter, they also complained that although the administration told Congress in 2009 that it would establish “a regular process for reviewing, redacting releasing significant opinions” of the court, since then “not a single redacted opinion has been released.”

Source: MintPress

The Long Reach of the Law: Biometric Surveillance in Real Time • by Eric

This is more jail shit, I think it’s a good idea to disclose my findings, for it supports my overall hypothesis that America – and the world over – is becoming a true police state.

First hand account of this comes from my experience in the sentenced block, when I had the job of sweeping and mopping the floors in Shift Command daily. I developed rapport with the Corrections Officers and I acted uneducated and aloof to the potential of the capabilities of the in-house surveillance system – to cajole the officers into “proving otherwise” the capabilities of the system.

It’s Live and Active – and Real

It is already fully functional, so there should be no surprise when it is ubiquitous in the public space.

Upon booking, inmates are required to give fingerprints (entered into a database), have photographs taken, have pictures of tattoos taken (if applicable) and other information as needed.

Something that is new (according to the Corrections Officers I asked) is a biometric retina capture. It’s a machine shaped like a parking meter. An inmate puts his face before it and it captures the retina. The significance here is that the retina is as unique as one’s fingerprints. That is, theoretically, no two retinas are the same.

Phone calls & voice :upon booking, inmates set up their phone account. It is with a company called Securus. An inmate follows prompts, one of the first is to read a few paragraphs that are recorded on the Securus end to be used for voice recognition. One of reasons for this is that it is used for authentication to contrast voice recognition patterns against future calls: all calls are recorded and subject to monitoring. And anything revealing criminal activity will be used against an inmate as evidence.

All of this information is pooled to a central database that has been proprietary been designed for the Department of Corrections. The database is integrated with a number of the Commonwealth’s other databases.

Database Capabilities

I asked to see what information is available about me “on their computers” – acting naive to how technology works, doubting that they had as much information as the officer boasted. (Of course, I knew he was telling me the truth but I wanted to see what OTHER info might be visible).

He logged into his dashboard and pulled up my name. I was alarmed at the amount of information accessible. He scrolled and clicked around and showed me – some of the information that was available and was visible to me:

Court records, entire history of court dates, etc.

CORI – Criminal Offender Records and Information

Vitals & Statistics: addresses, mother’s maiden name, relatives, birthdate, birth city, social security number, citizenship, etc.

Education: high school attended, universities attended

Professional: indicator of Certified Public Accountant, Real Estate Agent, Notary Public licenses

Driving: license issuance, driving record, status , etc.

Medical: (this section was not accessible by the officer, however, the medical office of the jail facility has access to pharmaceutical records, at a minimum)

Taxes: this was extensive as it is from the Department of Revenue – full history of all state payroll tax withholdings, income tax return account transcripts, excise taxes paid (for vehicles), etc.

Federal: the IRS records

Biometric Video Surveillance

The most “Big Brother is Watching” component is the integration of the retina biometrics with the massive inhouse video surveillance system. The extensive presence of surveillance cameras was not a surprise, it’s the capabilities of some of the cameras.

One type of camera that was most voluminous were what appeared to be cameras that are fixed in scope. It appears they stay fixated on one area at all times. There were installed in the ceilings, in the hallways, in the corners of the units – everywhere.

The most impressive looking camera was a large contraption that was on a swivel and had multiple “eyes.” This had 360° recording capabilities.

Another specific type of camera was installed, it seemed, between sectors of the jail facility: one either side of large metal sliding doors , on thick plexiglass doors etc. These cameras were armed with a combo of facial/voice recognition for the corrections officers to use. They would look at the cameras and say “camera F1, door 5” and the door would begin opening. On the either side of the door, again, they’d look up and state “Camera F2, door 5” and the door slides shut behind us. It is unclear to me the extensiveness of voice and biometric capabilities of these doors – but I do know inmates were unsuccessful in trying to utter “Camera F1, Door 5” to get the door to open 🤣😂🤣

The most impressive integration comes with the biometric retina scans intertwined with the enhanced surveillance video apparatus. One of my tasks inside the jail was to sweep and mop the floor of the “Shift Command Center” once per day. It would be done at 8:45am each day. Within the Shift Command, they have elaborate setups with computers, monitors and large HDTV screens all over the walls. And this is where I saw it: focusing on one HDTV, the view was inside the pod of one of the units. The pod is the large rec-room with tables, microwaves, hot water (for coffee,etc), the bubble (where the COs are stationed), etc…viewing the activity on the screen, it was inmates shuffling out of their cells into the rec-room. And above inmate’s presence in the screen was a green line, almost super-imposed above the video capture. When the people in Shift Command would – from their desktop computer – glide the mouse and click the green line – boom – the Inmate ID # would show up on their desktop monitor, expanded to show the mugshot, the demographics, etc. This is highly sophisticated surveillance.

Once witnessing this system in action, it dawned upon me a practical use of this combined technology works:

A fight breaks out in the unit. A four on three fight. The corrections officers in the unit signal for the Special Response Team (SRT) to rush to the unit. The corrections officers yell loudly “LOCK IN, LOCK IN” – the SRT rapidly enter the unit and subdue the inmates fighting. Usually there are at least a dozen SRT officers convening on the scene. They are mostly huge, tall men with training and experience for this scenario. They have handcuffs, mace, etc. They will tackle down figiting inmates that do not obey the order to get down on the ground and put hands behind their head. They cuff all of the fighting inmates. Then they bring them off the unit to solitary confinement. Now, it is common in a brawl like that for at least one of the fighting inmates will scrurry away and lock-in their cell. In the rec-room, most everyone is dressed the same: white t-shirts, orange pants, white sneakers. Therefore anyone who slipped out of SRT reach is camouflaged with the rest of inmate population.

The biometric video surveillance comes into play with the investigation that is immediately commenced after the fight, by the SRT. And this is why, within minutes, after the brawling inmates are taken away, all inmates are locked-in, another four SRT officers enter the pod, go directly to the cell of the inmate that scurried off, open the cell door and cuff him and lead him off the block. The biometric markers tied to his retina scan are instantly accessible and by reviewing the recorded surveillance video, it is quite clear to pinpoint additional offenders.


In summary, biometric, uniquely identifiable data (retina scans and finger prints) are already seamlessly integrated with one’s demographics, tax account information, driving records, residence records, employment history, medical records, court records, education and professional licenses – God knows what else they have. It is not overly complicated to integrate the aforementioned information and data with one’s entire “digital fingerprint”, that is, geographically logged location points, social media use, browsing history, SMS/MMS metadata, etc – alongside financial records, air travel history, voting registration status, etc.


“The Great Work” = Enabled by Climate Emergency


Risk of Eco-Accidents:

NATURE: Abrupt and widespread discontinuities exist in the fossil record of fauna and are considered evidence of widespread mass extinction of species. These low frequency events have been attributed to fluctuations in sea level, reversals of the geomagnetic fields (exposing the earth’s surface to lethal radiation), impacts of the earth by very large meteors (putting tons of dust into the atmosphere cutting off photosynthesis) and supernovae (causing catastrophic but temporary climate changes). There are also a range of potential man-made ecocatastrophes, such as triggering an earthquake with a an underground nuclear explosion. In addition, there are other more fantastic possibilities. The sun will expand into a red star engulfing Mercury and Venus and melting lead on the Earth. The moon can fall to earth, a comet, a swarm of meteorites or a black hole could collide with the earth. The earth will eventually loose its atmosphere. A life form might evolve destroying all of humankind.

This is the source material for the United Nations Agenda 2030 – the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The carrying out of the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is the partnership formed between the United Nations and the World Economic Forum known as “The Great Reset”…

See where this Masonic aptitude takes us…

Surveillance Apparatus • Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)

The Defense Intelligence Agency, established in 1961, is one of the United States government’s largest intelligence organizations – employing 17,000 individuals, including thousands stationed overseas. Its 2013 fiscal year budget request was for $3.15 billion. Yet, the DIA is also one of the more secretive agencies in the U.S. intelligence community, regularly denying access to basic information about its structure, functions and activities. Today the National Security Archive posts a new sourcebook of over 50 documents, many appearing for the first time, that help to illuminate the DIA’s five-decades-long history.

Highlights of the posting include an internal memo about the infamous Iraqi defector known as CURVEBALL and the false intelligence he provided about Iraq’s supposed WMD programs; a 180-page review of the case of DIA analyst Ana Belen Montes, convicted of supplying secrets to the Cubans several analyses of Iraqi and Chinese weapons of mass destruction programs; and descriptions of DIA’s interest in “psychoenergetics” activities such as extrasensory perception, telepathy, and remote viewing.

Today’s posting also features dozens of issues of the DIA’s in-house publication, Communiqué (see sidebar), containing significant information about the agency that is routinely withheld from the public under the Freedom of Information Act.

Along with the national intelligence agencies (the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is one of the largest United States government intelligence organizations. It employs approximately 17,000 individuals, with thousands deployed overseas. Its fiscal year 2013 budget request was for $3.15 billion dollars.

Some of the intellectual work that led to its creation took place during the later years of the Dwight Eisenhower administration (although it appears Eisenhower was interested in moving toward creation of such an agency as early as 1953). In 1959, the United States Intelligence Board created a Joint Study Group (JSG), chaired by the CIA’s Lyman Kirkpatrick, to study the intelligence-producing agencies. The group concluded that there was considerable overlap and duplication in defense intelligence activities, resulting in an inefficient distribution of resources. It observed that “… the fragmentation of efforts creates ‘barriers’ to the free and complete interchange of intelligence information among the several components of the Department of Defense” and recommended that the Secretary of Defense “bring the military intelligence organization within the Department of Defense into full consonance with the concept of the Defense Reorganization Act of 1958.”

However, as the end of Eisenhower’s tenure as president approached there was no concrete plan to establish a DoD-level intelligence agency. As a result, in an early January 1961 meeting of the National Security Council, Eisenhower was reported to have observed (Document 1, p. 4) that “each Military Service developed its own intelligence organization,” [that] “this situation made little sense in managerial terms” and that “he had suffered an eight year defeat on this question.” As a result, he “would leave a legacy of ashes for his successor.”

The Creation:

In an oral history interview, Kennedy’s first Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, recalled that one event that helped convince him of the need for a defense intelligence agency was a visit, not long after taking office, to Air Force intelligence headquarters in the Pentagon. The Air Force’s intelligence chief “got out all of his photographs. We went over them, and it didn’t prove to me that there was a missile gap. But he was not lying. He was looking at the photographs through Air Force-colored glasses.” Among McNamara’s conclusions was that “we ought to have one defense intelligence agency, and not several, each representing a particular service with operational interests involved it.”

That experience may have further advanced the cause of establishing a DIA. In a February 8, 1961 memo to the Joint Chiefs, McNamara raised the issue of establishing a Defense Intelligence Agency – that would possibly not only include the new agency absorbing the military service intelligence analysis agencies but also the National Security Agency. A flurry of memos produced by staff members of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff followed. Included was an April 21, 1961 memorandum (Document 2) on considerations with regard to establishing a Defense Intelligence Agency, one of which was whether the agency would report directly to the Secretary of Defense or to the Secretary via the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Ultimately, on July 5, McNamara reached the decision to establish the DIA, which he reported to President John F. Kennedy (Document 3) the following day in a memo that also reviewed his reasoning, the expected benefits from creation of the new agency, and the work that already been done. Less than a month later, on August 1, with the issuance of DoD Directive 5105.21 (Document 4), DIA was formally established, reporting to McNamara through the JCS – as the DoD announced (Document 5) the following day.

The directive made DIA responsible for: (1) organization, direction, management, and control over all DoD resources assigned to or included within the DIA; (2) review and coordination of those DoD intelligence functions retained by or assigned to the military departments; (3) supervision over the execution of all approved plans, programs, policies, and procedures for intelligence functions not assigned to the DIA; (4) the exercise of maximum economy and efficiency in the allocation and management of DoD intelligence resources; (5) responses to priority requests by the United States Intelligence Board; and (6) fulfillment of the intelligence requirements of major DoD components. As a consequence of DIA’s creation, the Joint Staff Director of Intelligence (J2) was abolished (although subsequently re-established), as was the Office of Special Operations, the small intelligence arm of the Secretary of Defense.

CIA-DIA Relations:

The DIA’s creation inevitably was of concern to the CIA, since it established a new major intelligence agency, which had an impact on the Intelligence Community’s analytical work as well as, at the very least, tasking of its collection activities – whether human or technical. Thus, in the early 1960s, the CIA monitored and reported on DIAs’ growing pains. In April 1963, CIA Executive Director Lyman Kirkpatrick reported (Document 8) on his conversation with DIA Director Joseph Carroll with regard to clandestine collection, current intelligence production, and DIA participation in the National Photographic Interpretation Center.

In late 1964, both Albert Wheelon, the CIA’s deputy director for science and technology, and Kirpatrick produced memoranda (Document 9, Document 10) – for Kirkpatrick and DCI John McCone, respectively – evaluating DIA and reviewing CIA-DIA relations. Three years later, the chief of the CIA’s Board of National Estimates, Sherman Kent, prepared a memorandum (Document 11) for McCone on McNamara’s possible difficulties with DIA – which he attributed to DIA being a headquarters military intelligence organization “with all the classic maladies of such,” and to the fact that it reported to the Secretary through the JCS.

Organizational Structure:

The DIA, in its 54-year existence, has undergone a large number of major organizational changes – particularly in its early years. Those changes have reflected both alternative structures for accomplishing its analytical mission and the growth of its responsibilities in the areas of human and technical collection.

The first document authoritatively concerning DIA’s organizational structure was the September 29, 1961 Plan for Activation of the Defense Intelligence Agency (Document 6), which specified (pp. 4-5, 10) that DIA would have at least two key directorates – the Directorate for Acquisition (whose responsibilities would include requirements and collection management) and the Directorate for Processing (which would operate an indications center, a production center, and an estimates office). The plan also made provision for organizational components to perform “other functions and activities” to be added in the future. By 1964 (Document 46), the number of key directorates had doubled, with the addition of directorates for mapping, charting, and geodesy as well as scientific and technical intelligence.[6]

Several decades later, in 1986, DIA’s structure had evolved (Document 19) to include a General Defense Intelligence Program Staff, a group of Defense Intelligence Officers (the DIA’s counterpart to the Director of Central Intelligence’s National Intelligence Officers), and six directorates – Security and Counterintelligence; Operations, Plans, Training; Foreign Intelligence; JCS Support; External Relations; and Resources and Systems. DIA’s role in human intelligence collection – via attachés and other sources – was managed by the Directorate for Operations and Attachés within the Operations, Plans, and Training Directorate. The Foreign Intelligence Directorate had absorbed the scientific and technical intelligence production mission in addition to containing a component for imagery exploitation.

A major reorganization of DIA occurred during James Clapper’s tenure (1992-1995) as DIA director. Clapper established three key centers which would be responsible for collection, analysis, and infrastructure – the National Military Intelligence Collection Center, the National Military Intelligence Production Center, and the National Military Intelligence Systems Center. The centers were renamed after Clapper retired as DIA director.

In February 2003, DIA Director Lowell Jacoby approved another significant reorganization (Document 34), which established a Director’s Staff and seven primary operating elements – directorates for HUMINT, MASINT and technical collection, analysis, information management, external relations, intelligence support for the Joint Staff, and administration. Subsequent organizational changes included creation of a human intelligence and counterintelligence center and Defense Intelligence Operations Coordination Center – both now disestablished – although’s Jacoby’s reorganization remained largely intact for years afterward.

Then, in July 2012, DIA Director Michael Flynn ordered a reorganization in some ways similar to the one subsequently undertaken at CIA. While the directorates for operations, analysis, and science and technology were retained, four regional centers were added to the existing Defense Combating Terrorism Center (formerly the Joint Intelligence Task Force – Combating Terrorism – see Document 30). That resulted in a new DIA organizational structure (Document 51) that remains in place today – in which individuals from different directorates are assigned to the Americas, Asia/Pacific, Europe/Eurasia, or Middle East/Africa center and are responsible for the collection and production of the intelligence required to produce finished intelligence support of DoD and its components.


Some of DIA’s organizational change was the result of its shift in responsibilities – one of a number of ways in which DIA has evolved over the last 54 years. Its original charter has been updated a number of times. An updated version of DoD Directive 5105.21 was issued on December 16, 1976, and limited the JCS’s operational control over the agency to obtaining intelligence support required to perform the Joint Chiefs’ statutory functions and responsibilities as well as ensuring adequate, timely, and reliable intelligence for the unified and specified Commands (e.g. European Command, Strategic Air Command). Further updates of 5105.21 were issued in May 1977, February 1997, and most recently March 2008. The March 2008 directive (Document 38) specified twelve categories of responsibilities and functions, with over 70 specific responsibilities and functions for the DIA director.

DIA began as an analytical agency and that has remained its primary focus, but over the years its responsibilities with regard to collection have also expanded. Its role in human intelligence collection has included assuming responsibility for the Defense Attaché Service in 1965, whose representatives in United States embassies throughout the world have performed assorted intelligence collection functions. In 1993, DCI James Woolsey and Deputy Secretary of Defense William Perry agreed to establish, under DIA, a Defense HUMINT Service (DHS), which would absorb the responsibilities of the clandestine and strategic HUMINT activities of the military services, particularly the Army. The DHS reached initial operational capability in 1995 but would eventually be disestablished in 2006 upon the creation of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service. Then in 2013, a Defense Clandestine Service was established within DIA to conduct HUMINT operations.

DIA’s responsibility for managing collection also expanded as the result of the grouping of a diverse number of technical collection activities (including seismic, non-imaging infrared, acoustic, radar) under the title ‘measurement and signature intelligence’ (MASINT). DIA’s responsibilities in the MASINT area were consolidated in 1999 (Document 28) under a Central MASINT Office (CMO). Subsequently, the office’s functions were assigned to the agency’s Directorate of MASINT & Technical Collection (Document 34), and more recently to its Directorate for Science and Technology.

In addition, DIA, partially as a result of reorganization efforts in the Defense intelligence area in the early 1990s, assumed responsibility (Document 23) for two geographically dispersed, Army-managed intelligence organizations. Specifically, it assumed control of the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center (AFMIC) and Army Missile and Space Intelligence Center (AMSIC) in 1991. AFMIC retained its name and the Army center became the Missile and Space Intelligence Center. Both remained at their locations – AFMIC at Ft. Detrick, Maryland, and MSIC in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2008, AFMIC was retitled (Document 39a, Document 39b, Document 40, Document 42) the National Center for Medical Intelligence to better reflect its role in support of organizations outside the DoD. A third geographically dispersed center, managed by DIA for the Intelligence Community, was established in 1997 – the Underground Facility Analysis Center (UFAC) at Herndon, Virginia.

In addition to the production responsibilities of its directorates and centers, as part of the DoD’s extensive intelligence production efforts (Document 27) DIA has also supervised and tasked production by a number of organizations operated by the military services – including the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, the National Ground Intelligence Center, the Office of Naval Intelligence, and the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity.

DIA & Organizational Transparency:

DIA is one of several agencies that has been given discretionary authority by Congress to refuse to provide even unclassified information about its organizational structure and personnel in response to Freedom of Information Act requests – an authority it has used more extensively in recent years and which it uses more drastically than the CIA, National Reconnaissance Office, or NSA. (The other national intelligence agency – the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency – currently provides no organizational details at all).

Thus, while it released its entire organization and functions manual in earlier years (Document 19) it currently refuses to release more detail than that posted on its website – which consists of a listing of directorates and centers (excluding the Missile and Space Intelligence Center, the National Center for Medical Intelligence, and the Underground Facility Analysis Center) without any statement of their specific functions. Since 2012, it has denied, in their entirety, requests for the organizational charts of the MASINT & Technical Collection, Human Intelligence, and Analysis Directorates as well as of MSIC, NCMI, and UFAC. The agency also refused to release a single word from 15 pages of material concerning the creation and mission of the short-lived Directorate for Collection Management. In addition, it denied a request for any memos or documents that listed current Defense Intelligence Officer (DIO) titles – although those titles and more information about the DIO system appeared in the spring 2012 issue of the DIA journal Communiqué, which had been publicly released.

DIA is also no longer willing to release unclassified brochures similar to the one it released only a few years ago on the Directorate for Analysis (Document 43). A response to a February 2014 FOIA request for any brochures providing an overview of the Directorates of Analysis, Operations, or Science & Technology noted that the one responsive document had been located but it was being denied in its entirety.

A major alternative means of obtaining information about the workings of DIA was eliminated when then-director Michael Flynn ordered – without production of any memos or other documentation – that Communiqué halt publication because he “felt it prudent, with declining resources, to halt the electronic and hardcopy production of this publication,” according to a letter from the DIA’s FOIA chief. The journal, many of whose issues are posted with this briefing book, offered a detailed look into many aspects of DIA organization and operations. And because it was an unclassified magazine that was available to family members of DIA personnel, no FOIA exemptions could be employed to deny any portion of it to a requester – in the same way that NSA was unable to deny author James Bamford issues of its newsletter when he requested copies during his research for The Puzzle Palace.

It is not clear that DIA’s increasing lack of transparency is based on any systematic analysis. In response to a 2012 FOIA request for any 2005-2011 studies of the consequences of public disclosure of DIA organizational structure, the agency reported that “despite a thorough search, no documents responsive to your request were found.”

Surveillance Apparatus • Instrument of the Crown Prince

Instrument of the Crown Prince
[In Arabic: السعودية-رئاسة-الاستخبارات-العامة ]

As the intelligence apparatus of the Saudi monarchy, the GIP is instrumental to the power of Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman (MBS), the heir apparent to the Saudi king. MBS has used the GIP to demonize, harass, repress, and assassinate critics of the Saudi regime.

MBS’s governing style has been called “electronic authoritarianism” for his aggressive use of surveillance against critics, including the alleged hack of the cell phone of the world’s richest man. One former Saudi intelligence official says the GIP is out to kill him for breaking with the government.

The GIP was tested by crisis in U.S-Saudi relations triggered by the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018. CIA director Gina Haspel travelled to Turkey where she heard an audio recording of Khashoggi’s apparent murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. After 11 Saudis were charged with the crime, MBS announced a reorganization of GIP in October 2018 that changed very little.

In June 2019, Agnes Callamard, the special rapporteur for extrajudicial executions, releasing the findings of her investigation into Khashoggi’s killing, asserting that there is evidence that responsibility extended beyond the 11 individuals put on trial in Saudi Arabia. The mission to execute Khashoggi required “significant government coordination, resources and finances,” Callamard said. The special rapporteur determined that there was credible evidence warranting further investigation of high-level Saudi officials, including the Crown Prince for their role in the murder.

In December 2019, former GIP deputy director, Ahmed al-Asiri, the highest ranking intelligence official charged in the case, was acquitted along with two other defendants. Eight underlings were convicted, and five of them sentenced to death.

Human Rights

“Saudi authorities in 2019 continued to repress dissidents, human rights activists, and independent clerics,” according to Human Rights Watch. “Saudi prosecutors in 2019 continued to seek the death penalty against detainees on charges that related to nothing more than peaceful activism and dissent.”

Surveillance Apparatus: Mossad & Shin Bet

Effective and Notorious

Mossad (the Hebrew word for “institute”) is one of the world’s most effective and notorious intelligence services. Its policy of targeted assassination is unparalleled among the world’s intelligence agencies.

Under the leadership of Yossi Cohen, Mossad has taken a leading role in Israel’s campaign to normalize relations with the monarchies of the Persian Gulf and to combat the spread of coronavirus.

In 2017 the combined budget of Mossad and Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service, was $2.4 billion, according to the reliable Israeli daily, Ha’aretz. Cohen was appointed in 2016.

Uniquely among the world’s intelligence services, Mossad takes credit for assassinating its enemies.

Israeli officials have acknowledged organizing the assassination of five Iranian nuclear scientists, as part of an effort to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

UAE authorities say a team of 26 Mossad agents was responsible for killing a senior Hamas military commander in a Dubai hotel room in 2010.

Mossad has diverse cyber capabilities. Israeli intelligence reportedly infiltrated the Stuxnet virus into the computers of Iranian nuclear facilities causing high-speed centrifuges to malfunction. The virus, discovered in 2010, was produced by a joint U.S.-Israeli team, according to the Washington Post.

In April 2018, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israeli operatives had broken into an archive on the Iranian nuclear program from 1993 to 2003. Israeli officials estimate that they obtained approximately twenty percent of the entire archive. The trove included some 55,000 pages of documents and a further 55,000 files on CDs—files that included photos and videos in addition to documents. Iran denied the claim.

Human Rights

The Israeli intelligence services are key to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.

According to a 2018 Human Rights Watch report, Israeli authorities enforce “severe and discriminatory restrictions on Palestinians’ human rights” and “facilitate the unlawful transfer of Israeli citizens to settlements in the occupied West Bank.”

This is my secret….always and forever….

Surveillance Apparatus • No Such Agency

No Such Agency

Once upon a time Washingtonians said NSA stood for “No Such Agency.” Now NSA is well-known yet still widely regarded as the most secretive of all U.S intelligence agencies. It is responsible for collecting signals intelligence such as email, texts, telephone calls and radio and TV communications. NSA’s annual budget as of 2014 was $10.8 billion.

The U.S. government’s efforts to collect, decipher, and interpret electrical communications began in 1917, with the creation of the Cipher Bureau which supported the U.S. war on Germany. During World War II, the Signal Intelligence Service (SIS) was created to intercept and decipher the communications of the Axis powers. With the onset of the Cold War with the Soviet Union and the war in Korea, the government’s signal intelligence operations were consolidated in the newly-created National Security Agency in 1952.

Based in Arlington Hall, formerly a girls’ school in northern Virginia, NSA took on a broad mission: to capture Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), which encompassed both communications (COMINT) and electronic intelligence (ELINT) and communication security within the U.S. military (COMSEC). With the covert help of Western Union, the private telegraph company, the NSA spied freely on both foreigners and Americans.

The Five Eyes

The growth of the NSA’s surveillance capabilities was powered by the creation of the Five Eyes, NSA’s secret alliance with four counterpart agencies in the English speaking world. In England, the General Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had a robust global communications system that knit together Britain’s colonial empire. Canada’sCommunications Security Establishment (CSE) added the ability to monitor all of North America, while the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and New Zealand’sGovernment Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) provided coverage of the Asia/Pacific region. The Five Eyes alliance enabled the NSA to establish listening stations around the world.

In the 1950s, NSA moved to Fort Meade, a U.S. Army base 30 miles north of Washington DC where it continued to grow. Exploiting the use of satellites to intercept communications, the NSA developed the Echelon program in the late 1960s, to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies. Notable success included early warning of the Egypt-Israeli war of 1973 and capturing the Soviet discussions of the upcoming arms control talks with the United States. Echelon grew into a global surveillance eavesdropping system.

In the 1960s, the NSA supported the U.S. war effort in Vietnam, while collecting intelligence on the anti-war movement at home, a violation of its charter.

Rule of Law

The NSA first came under public scrutiny in the 1975 when the Senate Intelligence Committee investigated its domestic spying operations. Revelations showed that NSA (with the help of GCHQ ) had intercepted phone calls of anti-war leaders under a program called MINARET. The disclosure prompted Congress to establish controls on NSA’s surveillance powers for the first time. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) required NSA and other government to get permission from a secret court to conduct surveillance on American citizens. The continuing Cold War ensured NSA’s growth. By the mid-1980s, NSA had more than 20,000 employees.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the NSA’s original reason for being vanished. Congress cut the agency’s budget and infrastructure suffered. In 2000, NSA suffered a total network outage for three days.

The terror attacks on September 11, 2001, revived the agency’s fortunes. The USA Patriot Act vastly expanded NSA’s collection activities. With the authorization of Section 215 of the law, the NSA began collecting phone and email communications of hundreds of millions of Americans.

A mass detection program called Total Information Awareness was cancelled after protests from civil libertarians and Congress while the President’s Surveillance Program to eavesdrop on suspected terrorists continued. The NSA also launched a host of secret programs to monitor the internet, including OAKSTAR, STORMBREW, and Trailblazer.

To bolster the global war on terrorism, the NSA entered into intelligence sharing agreements with signals intelligence services in Europe and Asia, an arrangement informally known as “The 14 Eyes.” NSA played the leading role in coordinating intelligence support for security arrangements at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy. With four satellites orbiting the earth and listening stations on every continent, the NSA’s reach had never been greater.

President Trump has repeatedly said, without evidence, that President Obama ordered NSA to spy on his campaign. A Justice Department investigation, however, did find that NSA surveillance of one Trump associate, Carter Page, was obtained by an error-ridden application to the FISA court.

Snowden’s Dissent

At a Senate hearing in March 2013, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence who had previously served as NSA director, denied that NSA conducted surveillance on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans, which was not true. Clapper later apologized, but his comment prompted Edward Snowden, a systems administrator at NSA, to collect a trove of documents that detailed the agency’s surveillance operations at home and abroad. Snowden then fled to Hong Kong where he shared the documents with journalists, who laid bare the NSA’s workings in unprecedented details.

Snowden’s leak was the worst breach in the history of the NSA and it triggered debate in the United States and around the world about NSA activities. While NSA accused Snowden of treason, Snowden and his defenders said the American people needed to know the extent of surveillance. Among the operations that Snowden exposed, PRISM, a program to capture information from telecommunications companies; Dropmire and Stateroom, to eavesdrop on foreign leaders and diplomats, and Bullrun, to decipher encrypted communications.

In September 2020, the ninth circuit court of appeals ruled that NSA’s program for “bulk collection” of call records (known as Section 215 for its place in the law books) was illegal, crediting Snowden with provoking “significant public debate over the appropriate scope of government surveillance.”


With the explosion of the internet and social media in the 21st century, NSA became the frontline agency waging and defending against cyberwar. In 2009, the NSA created United States Cyber Command or CYBERCOM “conduct full spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries.”

In January 2017, NSA joined CIA and FBI in finding that Russian state actors, including hackers, sought to influence the 2016 presidential election in favor of candidate Donald Trump. When the Defense Department and major U.S. corporations suffered massive “denial of service” attacks in 2011, the NSA suspected hackers affiliated with China’s People Liberation Army.

The director of the NSA is Gen. Paul Nakasone, appointed by President Trump in May 2018.

Surveillance Apparatus: Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) doesn’t actually run an intelligence agency. Rather, the DNI runs the office that oversees the work of the 16 agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community. Thus the ODNI is thus a bureaucratic hybrid that nominally supervises U.S. intelligence but doesn’t have budgetary or operational authority over any agency.

The ODNI was created by Congress after the 9/11 attacks to integrate the work of U.S. intelligence agencies. The failure of the FBI and the CIA to share information before the attacks were cited as the reason to create the position. Whether the legislation has succeeded in fostering greater cooperation is an open question. What is certain is that ODNI is here to stay.

The ODNI employs about 1,500 people, including professionals, contractors, and detailees from other agencies. The first three DNIs only served two years each, a reflection, it was said, of the position’s limited powers. However, James Clapper, former NSA director appointed by President Obama, served seven years, focusing on developing a common information technology desktop for the intelligence agencies.

Clapper elevated the political profile of the ODNI in March 2013 when Senator Ron Wyden asked him “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper responded, “No, sir.” Wyden asked “It does not?” and Clapper said, “Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly.”

NSA systems administrator Edward Snowden later told a German news organization it was Clapper’s false statement that prompted him to collect and leak documents proving hat the NSA did indeed spy on millions of Americans.

Clapper was succeeded by former Senator Dan Coats who alienated President Trump by differing from the White House views of Iran and North Korea. Trump sought to appoint Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe to serve as DNI. Congressional Republicans were cool to the idea, and Ratcliffe withdrew his name from consideration. Trump then appointed Joseph Maguire, head of the counterterrorism center in ODNI, as acting director. On orders of the Trump White House, Maguire initially withheld from Congress a whistleblower’s complaint about Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine. When the existence of the complaint leaked, Maguire relented and forwarded it to Congress, prompting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to open impeachment proceedings. President Trump then appointed Ratcliffe to serve as DNI. It turns out that Ratcliffe followed a slew of QAnon accounts.

President Biden’s nominee for DNI, former deputy CIA director Avril Haines, was the first cabinet officer confirmed in the new administration. Haines is the first woman to run the ODNI.